Ingrown toenails are a common and painful foot problem. Ingrown toenails happen most commonly in the big toenails. Pain, swelling, redness are early symptoms of an ingrown toenail and should be treated promptly to avoid serious infection. Cutting your nails too far into the corners is the most common reason to develop an ingrown toenail.
As mentioned ingrown toenails commonly start because of improper nail cutting. Ingrown toenails can also start if your nails are extremely curved or the skin surrounding your nail is large. Trauma (banging your toenail against the bedpost) is another cause of ingrown toenails. Shoes and socks that are too tight around the toes will aggravate ingrown toenails and should be avoided. Thick and fungal toenails can also make it easier to develop an ingrown toenail.
If your toe is red, swollen, painful and warm, it is likely that you are dealing with an ingrown toenail. Ingrown toenails are the result of bacteria entering into the skin along with the nail. This can lead to a bacterial infection and may require the use of a topical or oral antibiotic. Always seek the help of a professional when treating an ingrown toenail. Avoid cutting the nail further to fix the problem yourself.
Treatment and Prevention
Ingrown toenails should be treated early. If you detect the ingrown toenail early before infection has taken place, follow this protocol:
- Soak your feet in warm salt water
- Dry the area with a clean towel or gauze
- Apply an antibiotic cream (eg. Polysporin)
- Bandage the affected toe.
- Get Professional help (Chiropodist) to assess and treat the infection.
Proper nail cutting technique is vital to preventing ingrown toenails. Toenails should be cut straight across so that you can still see the corners of the nail. ‘Rounding’ the nails is not necessary and can lead to ingrown toenails. In serious cases, where ingrown toenails occur regularly, a Chiropodist or Podiatrist may recommend a simple procedure to remove the side of your nail to avoid it growing down the side of your toe and preventing future infections. This procedure can be done in office at the Mount Joy Foot Clinic & Orthotic Centre.
What can a Chiropodist do for you?
Our Chiropodist will evaluate and determine if you have an ingrown toenail. In a safe and sterile environment, our Chiropodist will treat your nail and clear any infection that is present. You may be prescribed a topical antibiotic depending on the level of infection. Follow up appointments will be scheduled to make sure your nail grows back healthy and prevent the nail from ingrowing again.
If you need help with ingrown toenails, our Chiropodist may recommend an in-office procedure that will provide you with long-term relief from ingrown toenails.
Need our help? Call the Mount Joy Foot Clinic & Orthotic Centre today at 905-209-8000.